College Football 2010: Week 9 Premiere Match-ups and Predictions

Dani CaplanCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2010

College Football 2010: Week 9 Premiere Match-ups and Predictions

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    EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 21:  The Oregon Duck mascot is lifted into the crowd during the game against the UCLA Bruins  on October 21, 2010 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    As weird as it seems, it's already Week 9 in college football.  As the regular season comes closer to an end, each game becomes more and more important.

    This weekend is going to be a good one, as a couple of undefeated title contenders are tested on the road by top-20 teams.  There are also some key conference bouts that can have major implications on conference outcomes.

    Without further ado, my picks and predictions for this week's exciting slate in college football.

Texas Tech at Texas A&M

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    COLLEGE STATION, TX - NOVEMBER 26: Quarterback Jerrod Johnson #1 of the Texas A&M Aggies looks to throw the ball downfield to an open receiver against the Texas Longhorns in the second half at Kyle Field on November 26, 2009 in College Station, Texas. The
    Aaron M. Sprecher/Getty Images

    This in-state rivalry game features teams that have won a game last week after rough stretches of a few weeks.

    These teams are both in must-win situations if they want to stay in contention for a bowl this year. 

    The game's biggest match-up between the two star quarterbacks.  Taylor Potts will look to outdo nemesis QB Jerrod Johnson.  I think the battle of the high-powered offenses will go to Jerrod Johnson and the Aggies of Texas A&M in a high-scoring affair.

    Texas A&M 41  Texas Tech 38

No. 20 Oklahoma State at Kansas State

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    STILLWATER, OK - SEPTEMBER 05:  Wide receiver Justin Blackmon #81 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys warms up before the college football game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Boone Pickens Stadium on September 5, 2009 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  The Cowboys defe
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Oklahoma State ended its run of 6-0 last week when it dropped a game to Nebraska.  It will come into this game angry, and hungry for a win.

    Kansas State has been a bit under the radar this year, quietly going 5-2 against a respectable schedule. It has stud running back Daniel Thomas, who has led the offense throughout the season.  He will need to have a big day to for the Wildcats to take down the Cowboys.

    I believe that Oklahoma State's offense is too much for K-State to handle.

    Oklahoma State 38  Kansas State 28

East Carolina at UCF

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    BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback Dominique Davis #4 of the East Carolina Pirates runs with the ball against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Lane Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Blacksburg, Virginia.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    I know, I know.  This is a mid-major matchup of two unranked teams.  But if you look closer, this game could be really entertaining.

    These two teams enter this game undefeated in Conference USA play.  This might be the conference championship game.

    These teams differ in their game-plans.  East Carolina will try to beat you with its offense, led by QB Dominique Davis, while UCF plays both sides of the ball well, but plays neither greatly. 

    In the end, I see the Central Florida defense being the difference-maker in this bout, and the Knights will take down the Pirates.

    UCF 27  East Carolina 24

California at Oregon State

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    TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 09:  Runningback Jacquizz Rodgers #1 of the Oregon State Beavers runs with the football during the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at Arizona Stadium on October 9, 2010 in Tucson, Arizona. The Beavers defeated the W
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    This game showcases two of the most inconsistent teams in the country. 

    Will we see the Oregon State team that beat Arizona, or the team that lost to Washington?  On the other hand, will we see the Cal squad that beat up on UCLA, Colorado, Arizona State, and nearly beat Arizona, or the team that got throttled by USC and Nevada?

    I really don't know if we'll see the best or worst of either team.  What I think will happen is an Oregon State victory behind James Rodgers.

    Oregon State 31  California 24

Georgia at Florida

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    GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback John Brantley #12 of the Florida Gators sets to pass against the Mississippi State Bulldogs October 16, 2010 Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Gainesville, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    In the preseason, this was assumed to be a top game this year and a major bellwether for the SEC title.  Yet it will prove to be a bout between two under-performers trying to stay alive in the brutal conference.

    Unluckily for Florida, it has been playing its worst football as of late.  John Brantley just doesn't seem to be getting better, so Florida's offense continues to struggle. 

    On the other hand, Georgia is starting to pick up its game, winning three straight games while putting up 40+ points in each.  

    Due to sheer momentum, I'm going Bulldogs in this game.  Who would have thunk that the Gators would be 4-4?

    Georgia 27  Florida 20

No. 25 Baylor at Texas

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    WACO, TX - OCTOBER 04:  Quarterback Robert Griffin #10 of the Baylor Bears drops back to pass against the Oklahoma Sooners at Floyd Casey Stadium on October 4, 2008 in Waco, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    I love this Baylor team led by Robert Griffin.  The Bears have put up huge scoring numbers over the past few weeks, and they show no signs of slowing down.

    I hate this Texas team led by Garret Gilbert.  Its offense, unlike Baylor's, has been nonexistent for most of the season.  

    The Longhorns dropped another disappointing game to lowly Iowa State at home, their second such loss at home. 

    They seem to play worse at home, and since this game is in Austin, I'm going with the Bears.

    Baylor 34  Texas 24

Kentucky at No. 23 Mississippi

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    LEXINGTON, KY - SEPTEMBER 18:  Mike Hartline #5 of the Kentucky Wildcats throws a pass during the game against the Akron Zips at Commonwealth Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    I'm still can't believe my eyes seeing the "23" next to Mississippi State.  The Bulldogs have really come a long way, from an SEC bottom-dweller to being ranked.  But they can't look past their next opponent, Kentucky.

    Kentucky has also shown flashes of greatness, as it beat then-No. 10 South Carolina and nearly beat now-No. 3 Auburn.  It has some dangerous weapons on offense, so Mississippi State must stay stout on defense.

    I think that Mississppi State will look ahead to Alabama and lay an egg in this one.  Kentucky will score a lot of points against a stunned Bulldog squad,

    Kentucky 30  Mississippi State 27

No. 1 Oregon at No. 24 USC

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    EUGENE, OR - OCTOBER 21:  LaMichael James #21 of the Oregon Ducks runs the ball against the UCLA Bruins on October 21, 2010 at the Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Oregon comes into this game as the odds-on favorite to win the national title.  USC comes into this game trying to spoil the Ducks' title hopes.

    Oregon will put up 40-60 points, but the real question is how its defense will fare against Matt Barkley and the high-powered Trojan offense. 

    Personally, I have been low on USC all year, so I think the Ducks will run away with this game in high-scoring fashion (what's new?).  But it could be a trap game for Oregon, as USC is capable of beating anyone in the country. 

    Oregon 57  USC 40

No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Iowa

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    EVANSTON, IL - OCTOBER 23: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Michigan State Spartans looks for a receiver against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field on October 23, 2010 in Evanston, Illinois. Michigan State defeated Northwestern 35-27. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    This game is as big as it gets, with national title implications.  If Michigan State wins, it has a relatively easy road to an undefeated season.  If not, it may not be part of the BCS.

    Iowa would love to dash any Spartan title hopes.  The Hawkeyes are coming off a frustrating, one-point loss to Wisconsin, so they'll come out in full force. 

    On the flip side, Michigan State is coming off of a near-loss to questionable Northwestern and must perform better this week against a far more talented opponent.

    I love the Michigan State story this year, so I'm sticking with the Spartans to beat Iowa in a tight one and keep its title hope alive.

    Michigan State 24  Iowa 21

No. 7 Missouri at No. 14 Nebraska

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 4: Blaine Gabbert #11 of the University of Missouri Tigers looks to pass against the University of Illinois Fighting Illini during the State Farm Arch Rivalry game on September 4, 2010 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri.
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    And finally, the game of the week in college football. 

    This game also has major BCS implications, as Mizzou is looking to remain undefeated after knocking off Oklahoma.  Nebraska knows the Tigers' situation, as the Huskers were in the same situation just two weeks ago, before being stunned by Texas.

    Just like Michigan State, if Missouri wins this game, it has pretty soft schedule on its way to a perfect regular season. 

    This game will come down to which defense is tougher, as both squads have high-scoring offenses.  I'll give Blaine Gabbert and Mizzou the edge over Taylor Martinez and Nebraska in a shootout.

    Missouri 37  Nebraska 33